Here's Why Google's Sundar Pichai Keeps Getting Promoted - And Is Now In Charge Of Much Of The Company


sundar pinchai

Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Sundar Pinchai.

A big shakeup at Google was reported Friday. CEO Larry Page will be stepping back and focusing on "the bigger picture," shifting more responsibility to his right-hand man, Sundar Pichai.


It's a big promotion for Pichai, and the list of new projects and people he's overseeing is long. But this isn't the first time he's risen through the ranks of the company, leaving some people wondering how he does it.

Last spring on Quora, former Google product manager Chris Beckmann noted three things Pichai does that make him stand out from his peers. See Beckmann's Quora post below.

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I never reported to Sundar or in his group, but many of my peers and friends did. Besides being incredibly talented and hardworking like many of his coworkers and peers, Sundar did a few things:

1. Foremost: he led successful efforts for difficult projects that were core to Google's continued financial success, namely Toolbar and Chrome. Toolbar wasn't an obviously sexy product but it helped defend the presence of Google search on users' computers during a critical period following the revelation of Google's incredible profitability. Chrome extended that mission to improve the user experience of the entire web: keep users on the web and you'll keep them searching on Google.

2. He recruited, mentored, and retained a great team. Sundar's team of product managers had a reputation as being among the best of the best, similar to the reputation of the software engineers within Search Quality.

3. He avoided making enemies. Google has politics like any other large company, and Sundar navigated those politics to make his team successful while inflicting the least possible damage on any other team.

We still don't know exactly what led to the latest changes at Google, but it's easy to see why Pichai ended up on top again.